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Todd Dills

LoneStar gets ‘Wired’

| February 19, 2009

a href=””img id=”BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5304527287726270674″ style=”FLOAT: right; MARGIN: 0px 0px 10px 10px; WIDTH: 200px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 100px” alt=”” src=”” border=”0″ //aemWired/em magazine’s a href=””Autopia blog/a, a forum devoted (as it sounds) mostly to new technology in the realm of cars and other personal transport, a couple weeks back had a href=””this story/a about International’s new LoneStar tractor (pictured). Run under the headline “An 18-wheeler That Feels Like Home,” the writers picked up on a growing trend among truck manufacturers toward tooling their rigs to the comfort needs of the most important user of the /br /Yes, that’s you. The funny part about all this is that it took two Carnegie Mellon professors to set the emWired/em editors straight on the reality of long-haul trucking. Peter Boatwright and John Cagan, two of the authors (with Craig Vogel) of the book a href=”″The Design of Things to Come/a, were consultants on the LoneStar’s interior, which is built to optimize operator comfort. “Hours spent chatting up drivers at truck stops helped [Cagan and Boatwright] create a ‘lifestyle savvy’ interior that packs the comforts of home into a rig,” the emWired/em editors wrote. “Boatwright and Cagan started by checking out the rigs already on the road and were surprised by what they found.”br /br /And then they dropped the big news: “‘Most of the trucks out there are pretty Spartan, and people live in them for weeks at a time,’ Cagan told us.”br /br /Jokes aside, Cagan and Boatwright took the design opportunity to involve graduate students in the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon and ended up tossing out old-style bunks “in favor of a fold-out bed with a 42-inch mattress, [using] the space they saved to install airline-style storage bins,” the story runs. “Other creature comforts include a fold-down desk, a boomin’ stereo with 11 speakers and a subwoofer, and a fridge. There’s even a hardwood floor, a touch added after students found truckers often customize their cabs with hardwood or Oriental rugs to create a defined transition from the driver’s seat to the living space.”br /br /As Land Line Media’s Bill Hudgins a href=””also pointed out/a, essentially, Navistar took the custom sleeper (which superstar makers like a href=””ICT/a, a href=””Double Eagle/a, a href=””ARI/a, a href=””Bentz /aand so many other a href=””individual owners and small businesses/a have been gearing toward driver comfort for years) and streamlined it for factory /br /We’ve been hearing good reports about the comfort of other truck makers’ new models, too, from the a href=”″Freightliner Cascadia/a to the a href=”″Kenworth T660/ /pInteresting side note: If you were wondering how two Carnegie Mellon design professors got involved with a truck manufacturer to begin with, note that Cagan and Boatwright’s 2005 a href=””design book begins/a with a narrative of the notable career of Dee Kapur, including a href=”″how he became president of Navistar-International’s Truck Group/a in 2003 after a career at Ford. /pli class=”social-digg”a onclick=”‘;url=’+encodeURIComponent(location.href)+’amp;title=’+encodeURIComponent(document.title), ‘digg’); return false;” href=””Digg/a/lili class=”social-facebook”a onclick=”‘’+encodeURIComponent(location.href)+’amp;title=’+encodeURIComponent(document.title),’facebook’); return false;” href=””facebook/a/lidiv class=”blogger-post-footer”Channel 19 is the blog version of the column of the same name featured in Overdrive: The Voice of the American Trucker. Todd Dills ( is its author./div

  • Paul

    awesome article. Had a LOL moment when the two designers had t odo a “sociological survey” of the ever under noticed lifestyle of long haul trucking. And hardwood floors, I could dig some of that. :-) strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.